Islanders from GrizzlyGames is a minimalist strategy game that focuses on smart gameplay with simple mechanics. The game is made with Unity and while it is an indie title, it delivers gameplay that is oddly addictive.
In Islanders, players will be in charge of building an island settlement. You are given a set of options to choose from and once you make your selection, you will have to place the buildings assigned to you onto the map. Once the buildings are placed onto the island, they provide a score. Accumulate enough score points and you’ll unlock the next set of building options.
This is incredibly simple but as you play through the game, different mechanics come into play. For example, building a certain type of building next to another may raise or lower the score bonus the building provides to you. With limited space on the island, the game becomes all about building prioritization and area management. Houses should be placed close to a city centre for example while a sawmill should be nearby to trees.
Islanders boils down to the following formula of placing buildings, racking up a score and then ultimately unlocking a newer, larger island once you’ve accumulated enough points. Progressing to a new island keeps your current score and unlocks more building options for you to choose from. Smart, strategic decisions as to which building set you choose will lead you to accumulating much higher scores especially since the buildings have an effect on each other. If you run out buildings to place before reaching the assigned score to beat, the game ends and the cycle repeats when you try again.
As expected from a game built with Unity, the artistic, playful art style and direction means that Islanders is visually appealing and will remain timeless because of its game engine. Placing square farm blocks next to houses and sawmills or stoneworks onto the island is a satisfying endeavour and the fact that the buildings are easily distinguishable while still retaining some similarity in their overall design is great. The soundtrack to Islanders is fairly standard and while there isn’t any standout music, the game doesn’t need it to be successful.
Playing through Islanders and ultimately not reaching your end goal score is what will keep you coming back for more. The game pushes you to do better than last time and since the islands are randomly generated, every single time you load up a new game or unlock a new island, you’ll have an island at your disposal which may or may not lead to higher scores. For example, if your starting island contains a lot of trees, placing sawmills near to these will lead to a much higher score being accumulated. Other islands may have different terrain such as beach sand which is useful for stoneworks and masonry while others may be filled with fertile grassland fit for farming.
Islanders is a peaceful, relaxing game that is perfect for unwinding and de-stressing. The artstyle is gorgeous and the colours are vibrant and varied enough to keep you visually stimulated throughout. Overall, it’s a highly recommended indie title that will keep you busy for hours as you try chase a high score and develop your island cityscapes. The game is currently priced extremely well on Steam and we highly recommend you pick it up and give it a go. It is truly excellent.